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Q: space travel ( Answered,   1 Comment )
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 Subject: space travel Category: Science Asked by: smartanswers-ga List Price: \$2.00 Posted: 01 Aug 2005 14:40 PDT Expires: 31 Aug 2005 14:40 PDT Question ID: 550546
 ```my six year old son asked me how long it would take to travel across our milky way (100,000 light years across)if we were able to travel a (googooay to the googooway exponet miles per second. This number has the equivalent of a one, with a hundered zeros after it , with an exponet of a one with a hundered zeros after it. This speed is well beyond Star Trek by a long shot. I am thinking of about an hour travel perhaps? What do think the time frame would be?```
 ```Hi smartanswers, Your guess is way high. The speed you have specified is so huge that the distance would be covered in an infinitesimal fraction of a second. I have not been able to find the terms "googooay" or "googooway" used anywhere but in your question. Ten to the hundredth power, equal to a one with a hundred zeros after it, is commonly called a "googol." A "googolplex" is ten to the googolth power, but you have specified an even bigger number, a googol to the googolth power. I haven't found a name for this number. It would be a one followed by 100 googol zeros. A light year is about 5,880,000,000,000 miles. Throw in five more zeros for the size of the Milky Way and you still have something on the order of 10 to the 17th power. This is an extremely tiny number of miles in comparison to the number of miles your imaginary spacecraft could travel in one second. Using the ^ character to represent exponentiation, it would take about 1 / (10 ^ ( (100 googol) - 17 ) ) of a second to cross the galaxy. In other words, you could cross the galaxy almost 100 googol times in a second. References Wikipedia on "light year" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_year Wikipedia on "googol" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Googol Wikipedia on "googolplex" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Googolplex If you need any further explanation of this, please ask for a clarification. Regards, --efn``` Request for Answer Clarification by smartanswers-ga on 02 Aug 2005 17:47 PDT ```So another words, this condition would in fact allow space travel thru hundereds of galaxys in a very short period of time. What do you sugest I tell my six year old a simple answer to his curious mind?``` Clarification of Answer by efn-ga on 02 Aug 2005 18:26 PDT ```First, racecar-ga is correct, I understated the number of times you could cross the galaxy in a second. It wouldn't be almost 100 googol, it would be almost 10 to the 100-googolth power. I'd suggest you tell your son first that scientists today don't think anything can go faster than light, so the shortest time possible for traveling 100,000 light years would be 100,000 years. Second, the number you described, a googol to the googolth power, is so huge that if it's a number of miles per second, it makes the size of the galaxy extremely tiny in comparison. Even if you changed the speed units to inches per millennium and the distance to the estimated size of the entire universe, the amount of time required for the trip would be still be tiny. I'm not sure I understand what you were getting at in your request for clarification, so if this clarification doesn't help, please try again to give me a more specific idea of what you are looking for, and I'll try again to help. --efn``` Request for Answer Clarification by smartanswers-ga on 05 Aug 2005 17:45 PDT ```Are we to asume that there is a boundry to our universe? If so--then this rate of travel(assuming a person in a space craft was not pure energy or light, and didn't crash into an asteroid etc.), would not be practicle, nor safe. However, Is it possible to imagine this rate of travel to discover other universes that simply are to far to comprehend? Moreover, if proportionately comparing this rate of travel to the measurment in size of one molecule of carbon, instead of say the size of a human in a space craft, what would a googol to the googolth power in this smaller proportional size take to travel across our universe? Or is the size of particles irrelevant in this formular?``` Clarification of Answer by efn-ga on 05 Aug 2005 20:06 PDT ```> Are we to asume that there is a boundry to our universe? For a discussion of this question, see: http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=460093 > However, Is it possible to imagine this rate of travel to discover other universes that simply are to far to comprehend? I don't think imagining a high rate of speed equates to discovering other universes. However, it is certainly possible to imagine other universes independently. > Moreover, if proportionately comparing this rate of travel to the measurment in size of one molecule of carbon, instead of say the size of a human in a space craft, what would a googol to the googolth power in this smaller proportional size take to travel across our universe? Or is the size of particles irrelevant in this formular? The size is irrelevant. If you imagine a race between an elephant and a mouse, if both go exactly two miles an hour, they will tie. The time is simply a function of the distance and the speed. --efn```
 ```Ignoring the fact that you can't travel faster than light, and that when you approach the speed of light you can no longer think of space and time as independent entities, everything efn said looks right, until the end, when (s)he says "In other words, you could cross the galaxy almost 100 googol times in a second." You could cross it far, far more times than that. 100 googol is a 1 followed by 102 zeros. But as efn said, the speed is a 1 followed by 100 googol zeros. Just knock say 20 zeros off that number to be safe, so you still have way more than 99 googol zeros after your 1, and that's how many times you could cross the universe in a second.```